» Friday, April 25, 2008


Asked what the contingency plans were for fuel in Scotland and whether any COBRA meetings were planned, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) replied that she was not aware of any planned COBRA meetings, but she would check. As Malcolm Wicks was saying this morning, what we were encouraging and what we wanted to see happen as swiftly as possible was for both sides to negotiate and get round the table to resolve this. We believed that this was a dispute that should be settled, and should be settled through reaching a common sense decision. The sooner that happened and the groups involved were able to prevent disruption, the better.

Asked about concerns over fuel supplies and contingency plans, the PMS replied that contingency planning was ongoing as would be expected, but the anticipation was that overall fuel supplies were not a problem. The current assessment was that despite any short term "stock outs" as they were known, there was sufficient fuel to re-supply forecourts and other users ahead, during, and following any industrial action. Obviously we did not want industrial action to go ahead, and the advice to motorists remained as Malcolm Wicks said this morning, not to buy more fuel than normal.

Asked to define "stock out", the PMS replied that a "stock out" was a reduction in the normal amount of fuel reaching places, but the Department for Business would have the exact technical definition.

Asked if it was the case that although there may not be any shortage, that petrol was not in the right places so garages would run dry, and had that not happened already, the PMS replied that as we had said contingency planning was in place, we were encouraging motorists not to buy any more fuel than normal as an increase in demand could potentially cause difficulties for those needing fuel.

Asked if Government vehicles and emergency vehicles had stocked up on fuel, the PMS replied that the department could provide exact details of the contingency planning that was ongoing. But as we had said the assumption was that there was not a problem in terms of supply in the short term during the strike or after should one occur.

Asked if the Government was guaranteeing to motorists that their local petrol station would not run out of petrol, the PMS replied that she had already set out our position, and the industry was making the assessment that there would be sufficient to re-supply the forecourts. But the message was that people should not buy out of the ordinary volumes of fuel.

Put that there were already some petrol stations where they had put limits on the amount of fuel people could buy, the PMS referred again to the industry assessment and to the advice that had gone out both from the Secretary of State and also from the Energy Minister.

Asked if Malcolm Wicks’ comments this morning that he could not guarantee supplies meant that contingency plans were not in place, the PMS replied that we were encouraging both sides to get round the table to negotiate and to bring about a resolution based on common sense so that this industrial action did not go ahead.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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